175 years ago, the Oregon Trail was the ultimate symbol of the pioneer West. Next time you are tempted to sigh, "Are we there yet," from a reclinable seat of some description, consider that between the 1820s and 1860s, an estimated 400,000 migrants crossed the Rocky Mountains to claim recently-relinquished (thanks Britain!) land in Oregon Territory -- in oxen-led trains of “prairie schooners” and homemade handcarts. What are those? Exactly.
While the host of diseases and other calamities that beset these hardy souls are pretty much wiped out, the jaw-dropping landscapes and pristine forests they traversed remain, and are a whole lot more hospitable these days, thanks to some modern pioneers of food, drink, and lodging. We've rounded up the coolest spots, natural and man-made, that you need to hit along the way.